Saturday, February 25, 2006


Iraq faces civil war threat

`A bomb attack overnight destroyed the dome of one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, prompting reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques in Baghdad that left six dead and raised fears of sectarian civil war.

Another two people were killed in an attack on offices of a Sunni political party in Iraq’s mainly Shiite second city of Basra, while gunmen stormed a prison in the city and lynched 10 suspected militants from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Two explosions brought down the gilded dome of the 1000-year-old Imam Ali al-Hadi mausoleum in the town of Samarra north of Baghdad, fanning fears of a sectarian war between Iraq’s newly empowered Shiite majority and the ousted Sunni Arab elite.

The attack against the shrine, where Shi’ites believe their 12th Imam disappeared in the 9th century AD, triggered Shiite violence that was unprecedented in scope since US-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in April 2003.’

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